Pregnancy is one of those experiences that may look glamorous, but can sometimes just make you feel straight up uncomfortable. Your growing baby and fluctuating hormones can do a number on your body and digestive system, and heartburn during pregnancy is annoying enough. But when you get constipated, it can make you feel even worse and make it hard to get through the day comfortably. Many women say that acupressure can help get their bowels moving, but what pressure points help with constipation? Because anything that can ease it would be a blessing. Since there are some unsafe points to stimulate during pregnancy, you should make sure you find the right ones.
For constipation during pregnancy, you might just find relief from the pressure points in your arms. Red Tent explained that the points along the San Jiao meridian located on the outer part (the part that tans in the sun) of your arm, regulate the water passages in your body. The article further noted that according to Chinese medicine, when you are constipated, it is a sign that your Qi is too dry or stalling, so stimulating this meridian can help get your Qi to flow while bringing more moisture to the needed areas.
Kristen Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M. infertility, women’s health and menopause expert, acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Eagle Acupuncture, tells Romper that to efficiently use acupressure for constipation, you would be best served by the experts — an acupuncturist and herbalist who know where the exact acupressure points are located. She says it takes years of training to be able to learn the exact location of your points. “Acupressure is the use of fingers, hands, or specific tui na tools designed to stimulate acupuncture points,” explains Burris, “and the pressure must be intense and for long periods of time to be effective.” She says that this is why acupressure is a lot more painful than acupuncture.
In an interview with Romper, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Angela Le, DACM, LAc of Fifth Avenue Fertility Wellness says that constipation is very common, and can become extremely uncomfortable, causing bloating and feelings of sluggishness. She says that acupressure — when a firm downward pressure is applied to a specific area of the body that corresponds to an acupuncture point — can be a wonderful way to possibly find quick relief from constipation. She adds that when you apply pressure on your points, you should breathe slowly and deeply, while applying pressure to each point with a blunt object or your knuckle for about 30 seconds.
So how do you find the San Jiao points? Red Tent suggested starting in the middle of the crease on the outer side of your wrist, then taking four fingers from your other hand, and laying them across your arm — pinky finger starting at the crease. At the edge of your fingers, right along your pointer finger, you will find the SJ-6 point. The article explained that you can use the right or left arm, as both have the same points, and apply pressure to the point (which should feel like a good hurt) for about three to five minutes for two to three days a week until you begin noticing a difference with your bowel movements.
An extremely important thing to note is that if you are pregnant, you should always consult your physician before trying any new treatments or methods of acupressure or acupuncture. According to What To Expect, if you decide to see an acupuncturist, pick one that is licensed and experienced with treating pregnant women. Even after getting the green light from your doctor, if you feel any cramping, pain, or contractions, during or after an acupressure session, you should contact your physician immediately.
Hopefully acupressure can help relieve some of the uncomfortable pressure you’ve been feeling so that you can continue your pregnancy journey with relief and ease. (And a successful trip to the bathroom.)
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